Washington and Lee University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications got a boost this week thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to support business journalism and legal reporting at the school.
Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio said of the importance of business reporting:
“Given events of these past several years, it is clear how important it is for us to prepare journalists with a strong understanding of the economy and underlying economic principles.”
The Las Vegas-based Reynolds Foundation has now given more than $5.5 million to the W&L journalism program over the past 10 years.
This latest grant will help attract business journalists and news executives to the school for visits of up to one term, it said in a press release. The grant will also fund up to seven student internships each summer and help cover costs for journalism students to go on field trips and attend business journalism conferences.
Reynolds previous grants helped create the business journalism professorship at W&L currently held by Pamela K. Luecke, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning former newspaper editor.
In the school’s release, Luecke noted that former W&L business journalism students now work at news organizations such as Bloomberg News, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
According to figures provided by W&L, after a few years of growth, enrollment in its journalism program is down slightly with 29 students this year and 22 expected in the program for 2011 and 2012. That’s down from 2009 when enrollment reached 34.